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Negotiation Lessons to Put into Practice

By Marty Latz

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I recently concluded a few negotiations – business and personal – and learned and confirmed some things that have universal applicability to many negotiations. I recently have added these to my personal list of negotiation lessons learned so they are front and center for me in future negotiations. You might add them to yours, too.

Maintain focus on your primary goal.

Our current roof lasted 21 years – and we needed a new roof. So we got some roofer recommendations and met with three who bid.

One was particularly impressive. He really knew his stuff and was intensely focused on quality, details and customer service. And his bid, while not the lowest, was reasonable based on our market research.

So I asked him to send me his standard agreement so we could get him scheduled soon, as he was extremely busy. After looking over his one-page agreement, which I suspect he had been using for years, I asked him if I could make some revisions to better protect us both. He seemed fine with this.

Now, keep in mind that I am a lawyer, as is my wife, and he knew this. So I sent him a revised agreement with some slight modifications, mostly technical. I next received a voice mail from him stating he thought we should find a different roofer.

I was very surprised. So, after discussing this with my wife (who was upset at me, as she just wanted our roof replaced before it rained again), I called him back to explore his concerns. Bottom line – he just wasn’t comfortable with any changes.

Since none were deal-breakers, I signed his agreement. And we got a great new roof.

My lesson? Keep your eyes on your primary goal. The revisions were minor, but our selection of the roofer was not.

Negotiation Lessons to Put into Practice by Marty Latz


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The Negotiator Magazine  September 2014